Blood for Irina (dir: Chris Alexander)

Posted: March 15, 2014 in Horror, Older releases
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Blood_for_Irina_Poster

USA: 2012

A modern vampire tale, Blood for Irina is a perfect illustration of how visual style can only take you so far. In an early interior shot we see Irina’s motel room suffused in red light, a scene reminiscent of Dario Argento’s Suspiria. Not long afterwards Irina (Shauna Henry) is shown walking along a deserted street that seems to be bathed in an orange/red colour which, according to the director’s DVD commentary, is a direct influence of Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. These early scenes, combined with a suitably atmospheric soundtrack, were very successful in creating an eerie, otherworldly, mood.

Irina is a woman with a terrible bloodlust, although whether she is an actual member of the undead, as opposed to a deranged person, is something that is never fully established. What we do see is that, shortly after dispatching her victims, Irina vomits up the blood she has swallowed. She seems to be a very sick vampire. After sinking her teeth into the neck of a man she has enticed back to her room, and feeding on his ravaged neck, Irina rushes to the bathroom and begins throwing up blood into the sink. It is at this point that a note of worry creeps into the viewers mind that the film is going to drag. We get a slow-motion shot of blood falling from Irina’s mouth, seen from the point-of-view of the plughole. This seems to go on forever, and from hereon in there are many other slow-motion shots and extended scenes that really needed to end sooner.

Although the film was shot with dialogue, this was all cut from the final version. Whether the inclusion of dialogue would have improved matters is far from certain, as much of the acting is frankly rather unconvincing. One scene that does work quite well occurs near the end, after Irina has brought Pink (Carrie Gemmell), an isolated young woman on the streets, back to her room. Irina bites into her own arm and then feeds her blood to the stranger she has picked up. Then Irina begins to feed on Pink’s blood, during which the camera lingers on Pink’s expression, which is one of ecstatic pleasure (the classic equating of vampiric behaviour with sexual activity).

However, this by no means rescues the viewer from the tedium that has descended by this point. I literally had to fight against drooping eyelids on a couple of occasions. This is a shame, because Chris Alexander does seem to have an eye for some visually arresting shots. According to the director’s commentary the movie was made with no budget, so it perhaps sounds a little churlish to criticise; but whether a film has no budget or a huge budget, the viewers’ only real criterion is whether or not they enjoyed it. In this case I didn’t.

Rating: 4/10

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